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30 July 2012

Dear Mr. Hanlon:

In its meeting of 19 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design submission for a replacement building for Ballou Senior High School, located at 3401 4th Street, SE, with the following comments.

The Commission members supported the site planning and organization of the school program into discrete volumes connected by public spaces as well as the contemporary architectural approach. However, they expressed concern that the design of the building facades appears arbitrary, with too many competing architectural languages and patterns, and lacking a rational expression of the building's plan and programmatic areas. Instead, they recommended refinement of the design with a clearer expression of the building's organization as a simplified, interrelated architecture.

In addition, the Commission members recommended that the landscape design be developed more coherently to include occupiable spaces, not merely to frame the architecture at the perimeter of the site; they also noted the opportunity to develop the spaces between building volumes as useable parts of the landscape. In general, they suggested that the school be developed as a model of sustainable design, and they encouraged the installation of green roofs and other environmental features on the building's extensive roofscape.

The Commission looks forward to the review of a more developed concept proposal for the new school building. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.

Sincerely,

/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Secretary

Brian L. Hanlon, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009

cc: Calvert Bowie, Bowie Gridley Architects
Curtis Clay, Perkins + Will

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Last Modified: July 31, 2012